Monday, August 06, 2012

Ok, that's over, let's talk about 2014!

Ok, I know what you're thinking: Steffens, are you high????  No, please hear me out for a few minutes, because I want to talk about the GOOD things that happened here on Thursday and there WERE some good things that happened.

Let's understand a few things about November.

1) As long as we remember to go out and vote, Steve Cohen will beat George Flinn 75-25 or worse.  No, really, whoever convinced Flinn to run for the 9th District had better be making some large coin off this, because he is going to get creamed.

2) Barack Obama will carry Shelby County by a landslide.
3) He will only win four other counties at best: Davidson, Haywood, Hardeman and maybe Houston. That's it, that's all.
4) No state House or Senate seats will change hands in this County, other than the one Senate and two House seats that we lost in redistricting that were shipped to Middle and East Tennessee.

So, the lesson from that is show up to vote in November, but otherwise it really doesn't matter. The General Assembly is going to be run by crackpots on the right for the foreseeable future, so let's focus on Memphis, shall we?

August 2014?  THAT'S the enchilada, baby.

EVERY SINGLE SHELBY COUNTY OFFICE WILL BE ON THE AUGUST 2014 BALLOT.  Even Cheyenne Johnson and Ed Stanton, Jr. will have to come back and defend their offices then, along with County Mayor, Sheriff, Register, Trustee, the other Clerkships and thirteen single-member district Commission races.  Oh, and did I mention the non-partisan judgeships that will be up?

Ok then, do I have your attention?  Good.

Now, the lesson of Thursday night is very simple: if you have great candidates with no baggage in ther backgrounds, you can win countywide as a Democrat.  It doesn't hurt to have your Congressman support you, either, but if they hadn't had great campaigns to start with, I doubt that Steve Cohen would have risked his political capital on them.

Whomever the next SCDP Chair is, whether it's Van Turner or someone else should he decide not to seek a third term, they need to start searching for countywide candidates as soon as they assume the reins of office. I am serious, this business of not taking sides does not work; the GOP has been doing it for years, and it HAS worked for them.

I think some criteria should be set up to vet candidates for countywide office.  Some disqualifications should be up front:

A. If you have been our nominee at least twice and lost countywide, don't run, because the voters have told you they don't want you, so don't waste our time (and especially our money!)
B.  Do you have any experience that qualifies you for the job you seek, and especially qualities that  are superior to the officeholder you are seeking to replace?
C.  Have you ever worked in a countywide campaign?  Did that candidate win?
D. Can you organize a campaign?
E. Can you raise $50,000-$100,000 so you won't have to come to us hat-in-hand for the general election?
F.  If you are African-American, are you willing to knock on the doors of people of non-color?
G. If you are white, are you willing to knock on the doors of people of color?

Oh, and one more thing: IF you meet this criteria AND you want to run, you know when you need to start planning this campaign? TODAY. THIS HOUR, THIS MINUTE, THIS SECOND.  I know because there are people WHO ARE DOING THIS AS I WRITE.  SERIOUSLY.

I am certain there are other good questions, and I urge you to put them in comments.  If the answer to ANY of those questions is no, I, if I were Chair, would do my best to talk them out of running, and frankly, to ensure that that candidate doesn't win the nomination should they be stupid enough to run.  The GOP is SERIOUS when they field candidates (Rick Rout doesn't count, folks) and we should be as well.

We have tried to capture the County for more years than I care to remember.  If we go out and find more people like Cheyenne and Ed, we can do that very thing; if we just throw Joe Shlabotnik out there, we will lose, and it's that simple.  Don't run if you NEED a job, run if you know how to DO the job, to paraphrase Reginald Milton.  (and by the way, PLEASE run for SOMETHING, Reginald, I think you would fit that criteria like a glove!)

OK, that's enough at the moment, but start thinking about 2014 ASAP, please!


Kosh III said...

One more qualification: have genuine Democratic and progressive principles.

Steve Steffens said...

Amen, Kosh.